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Old 20-08-2007, 04:43   #1
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Leaving Rio

Friday, 17. August 2007, 14:30:55

We sailed into Rio from Baia Ilha da Grande, some 60 miles south of Rio. The place is a cruisers paradise. Thought we’d rest a night or two in Rio on our journey north towards Salvador. We were fortunate to have good breeze from behind and arrived back in Rio before sundown after a fairly late start from Le Grande.

We had to try to pick our weather northwards, we had to look for a cold front moving in. South westerly winds then prevail, making the journey northeast along the Brazilian coast less of an ordeal. Beating to weather on a cat in strong winds ain’t no fun. After a few days in Rio, the signs were there, cold winds, rain etc. wind gusting over 20 knots in the shelter of Niteroi where we were anchored.

Set off just before light, leaving the shelter of Rio’s bay. Wet and gusty. Then, around the corner, exiting the entrance of the bay. Did this look rough! But we had decided to go.

Sailing with full rig and engines running between the headland on our left and Sugar Loaf on our right we had to get through this channel that stretched for about a mile with wind on the nose. What made this a particular problem is that the water is only 50 foot deep and all the water from way out to sea with the wind behind, forces its way into the narrow, shallow channel.

This stretch of water was probably about the roughest we have sailed in. White water breaking around us, and at times it seemed as the boat was going vertical, nose straight at the sky. Even I, as one particularly nasty wave was coming, thought, Oh ****! Here we go, hold tight. The bows then come crashing down over the other side of the wave and before the nose is up to level the next wave comes crashing and streaming over the deck.

There was no choice of going back because we could not turn around without taking a least a few of these monsters side on. As soon as we cleared the channel and could bear off a little things improve. We are flying now, again doing almost 17 knots. This journey to Cabo Frio would not take long. We can then seek shelter in daylight and anchor somewhere for the night. The wind kept switching, gusts over 30 knots. From behind it was exhilarating but it would suddenly head and instead of having wind blowing 36 knots from behind which gives about 20 knots apparent from behind, we get it from the front quarter. This is then added to our boat speed of roughly 17 knots going forward and it becomes over 50 knots apparent. Just as we were about to reef our full main the wind took its toll, ripping the main from the leach(back end of the sail) and the main opening up like a zip almost all the way to the mast. Fortunately it was all along the stitching except for the last foot or so from the leach where the cloth was torn. We then reefed down to the number 2 reef. This was no sooner completed when the wind died to a more manageable 20 knots or so.

We still were doing about 10 knots most of the way and got to Cabo Frio mid afternoon but conditions for anchoring there did not look enticing and decided to continue on to Buzios where the natural shape of the land and bay provided better shelter for the south wester that we were sailing in. It was another 20-30 miles and we arrived before dark. We just hooked up to a club mooring and were thankful to get a break from excitement of that day.

We tried to get our sail fixed at Buzios but no suitable facility existed there. We could still use the sail with one reef as the damage to the main was just below this reefing point and should not have too a drastic impact on the speed of our journey north to Salvador.

So we had a few relaxing days at Buzios while we waited for favourable conditions for our journey further north. We then had to opportunity to check out Cabo Frio by land rather than by sea so hired a beach buggy.


repost from : Leaving Rio - Sailing around the world - by James Wilding
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